Fall has always been my favorite season. As a child, I loved the adventure of back to school, new connections, and new possibilities. I still love the changing colors of the season and the crisp autumn air. As I settle into my new role as your bishop, I am especially grateful for this New Jersey fall, and the gift of new connections and possibilities within and across the diocese.
While I am still getting to know people and congregations, our work together is already under way. We’ve taken some significant steps to address our budget shortfall for 2024 and the proposed budget that will be shared at our pre-convention hearings that begin next week represents some substantial work to diminish expenditures and strengthen support for congregations. You will learn more about that as part of our budget process as we prepare for our Dec. 9 Special Convention.
When I arrived in the diocese, two members of the diocesan staff were in interim roles. An interim appointment, whether in a congregation or a diocese, is intended to provide short-term support during a vacancy in a position. These roles are not normally renewable. For congregations, an Interim Rector can provide space for needed work and prepare the way for a longer-term clergy call. For diocesan staff positions, interim appointments are often used when there is a staffing need during an episcopal transition, with the understanding that these shorter-term positions will not continue once a new bishop is in place.
In the Diocese of New Jersey, the Rev. Canon Joanne Izzo has served as Interim Canon to the Ordinary since May 2022. Her appointment concludes in December and she will be wrapping up her work before Thanksgiving. I am grateful to Canon Izzo for her ministry here. She has been a supportive and gracious presence for congregations and clergy, managing our transition processes and equipping clergy and lay leaders for mission, and we wish her God’s blessing as she returns to ministry closer to her home in Brooklyn.
In addition, Deacon Clive Sang has served as Interim Canon Missioner for Black Ministries, a position focused on supporting our congregations and communities of African descent, building strong relationships with and between the congregations he serves. He has agreed to continue in his current role as we search for a permanent staff member, and I am grateful for his gifts in this ministry, and for his willingness to continue during this time of transition.
I give thanks for both of these faithful interim staff members. Their work has been a gift to us all and they will be missed. As our fall season continues, I am eager to see what new ministries God has in store for them, and for all of us.
God bless you.
The Right Reverend Sally French
Bishop of New Jersey